Saturday, June 2, 2018

2018 Dominican Summer League Astros Primer

The Dominican Summer League will begin its season today. This is the only foreign rookie league affiliated with Minor League Baseball since the Venezuelan Summer League ceased operations following the 2015 season.

As the name implies, the league is located in the Dominican Republic and all 30 Major League teams have bases set up throughout the country. The rosters of these teams primarily consist of international signings from Latin America and the Caribbean, and for many of these players, it is their first foray into professional baseball. They have spent countless hours preparing for this day, and today, they will finally get the opportunity to showcase their skills. Although this is the lowest rung on the Minor League ladder, these kids are just like the guys in Corpus or Quad Cities: They're chasing their dreams of becoming Major League Baseball players.

For many of us, this is the first time that we have heard of guys like Heitor Tokar, Victor Mascai, Sebastian Grullon, or Yimmi Cortabarria. It may not be the last time, either. From here, Minute Maid Park seems like it's a universe away and many of these players may never advance past this league. Even Quad Cities feels like a world away, but again, for the vast majority of these kids, this is the route they have to take in order to make it to The Show, or even to the United States.

On the other hand, some of these kids may emerge to become top prospects, and we will be able to talk about them in the same vein as Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, Forrest Whitley, and Cionel Perez. Some may even become stars in the majors, whether it is with the Astros or another organization. We are seeing some of these DSL graduates such as Jorge Alcala, Hector Perez, Jairo Solis, and Yordan Alvarez begin to make an impact in the system.

You just never know who might emerge from this level to become an impact player. You may not know their names yet, but you might end up remembering a few of them a few years from now. Oz Ocampo and his team are excellent at what they do, and that is infusing young talent into the Houston Astros organization.

We at What the Heck, Bobby? would like to wish the Dominican Summer League Astros best of luck on the upcoming season. We hope to see some of you guys in Houston down the road, as well.

The Astros will only operate one team in the Dominican Summer League this season; this last occurred in 2013. For the last four seasons, the Astros had a Blue team and an Orange team. Not anymore.

So, without further ado... the 2018 Dominican Summer League Astros. They will begin their season against the Royals 1 at 11:30 AM Atlantic time (the Dominican Republic is one hour ahead of Eastern time). Each team plays the other twice in a series, home and away. All games are played within the division; the divisions in the DSL do not interact with each other until the playoffs. Sunday is the designated off day.

Bold - player is making professional debut
Italics - player bats/throws left-handed
Asterisk - player is a switch-hitter

COACHING STAFF

Manager - Charlie Romero
Pitching Coach - Rick Aponte
Hitting Coach - Luis Mateo

The Orange team's coaching staff was retained as instructors. Alejandro Martinez, Gerardo Olivares, Omar Rosario, Carlos Lugo, Erik Acevedo, Selin Aquino, and former Astros farmhands Luis Reynoso and Starlyng Sanchez will all serve as coaches at the Academy this season.

PITCHERS

Valente Bellozo - signed in July 2017 out of Mexico for $20,000; born January 4, 2000
Jose Betances - signed in July 2017 out of the Dominican Republic for $285,000; October 17, 1999
Alex Blanco - signed in July 2017 out of the Dominican Republic for $10,000; October 3, 1997
Yeremi Ceballos - signed in April 2016 out of the Dominican Republic; December 21, 1998, currently on 60-day DL
Franny Cobos - signed in August 2017 out of Cuba for $125,000; February 1, 2001
Ronny Garcia - signed in July 2016 out of the Dominican Republic for $30,000; December 2, 1999
Flaer Gonzalez - signed in July 2017 out of the Dominican Republic for $20,000; September 27, 1996
Jose Antonio Hernandez - signed in May 2016 out of Venezuela; June 18, 1999
Ernesto Jaquez - signed in July 2017 out of the DR for $95,000; June 11, 1999
Alfredi Jimenez - signed in July 2017 out of the DR for $50,000; October 19, 1999
Jairo Lopez -  signed in July 2017 out of Venezuela for $300,000; November 21, 2000
Christian Mejias - signed in June 2016 out of Venezuela; May 19, 1999
Jeremy Molero - signed in August 2017 out of Venezuela; November 8, 1999
Wender Oberto - signed in November 2016 out of Venezuela; December 9, 1999
Jherson Pereira - signed in February 2018 out of Venezuela; January 27, 1997
Carlos Quintero - signed in December 2016 out of Venezuela; January 11, 2000; currently on 60-day DL
Fabricio Reina - signed in March 2017; February 26, 2000
Bryan Solano - signed in March 2017 out of Costa Rica; January 25, 1998
Diosmerky Taveras - signed in July 2017 out of the DR for $55,000; September 23, 1999
Heitor Tokar - signed in July 2017 out of Brazil for $300,000; October 25, 2000

CATCHERS

Jose Alvarez - signed in July 2016 out of Venezuela for $195,000; June 4, 2000
Luis Barajas - signed in January 2017 out of Mexico; July 13, 1999
Carlos Hurtado - signed in July 2017 out of Venezuela for $80,000; May 18, 2001
Jonarkys Lopez - signed in August 2017 out of Venezuela; August 13, 2001
Ricardo Toro - signed in July 2017 out of Venezuela for $95,000; February 24, 2001

INFIELDERS

Javier Bermudez* - signed in July 2017 out of Venezuela for $10,000; January 2, 1999
Rolando Espinosa - signed in August 2017 out of Cuba for $175,000; January 5, 2001
Sebastian Grullon - signed in July 2017 out of the DR; July 19, 2001
Junior Marte - signed in July 2017 out of the DR for $70,000; April 14, 2000
Jose Mendoza - signed in August 2017 out of Venezuela; June 19, 2001
Enmanuel Morillo - signed in July 2017 out of the DR for $90,000; December 6, 2000
Marco van der Wijst - signed in March 2017 out of the Netherlands for $17,500 when he was known as Oliver van der Wijst (he's Dutch and Dominican); February 23, 1998

OUTFIELDERS

Yefri Carrillo - signed in July 2017 out of Venezuela for $300,000; January 13, 2001
Abraham Castillo - signed in July 2017 out of Venezuela for $150,000; December 5, 2000
Yimmi Cortabarria - signed in July 2017 out of Venezuela for $300,000; January 10, 2001
Victor Mascai - signed in July 2017 out of Brazil for $100,000, also known as Victor Coutinho; February 10, 2001

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